President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign on Friday announced it would not hold a rally originally scheduled to take place in New Hampshire this weekend due to concerns about a tropical storm, which is expected to sweep up the coast, but is not projected to hit the rally-region too heavily on Saturday.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters the event would be postponed for “a week or two” due to a “big storm.”
Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, also issued a statement regarding the rally’s postponement for “safety reasons because of Tropical Storm Fay.” Murtaugh added that a new date for the campaign event set to take place in Portsmouth would be announced soon.
The news comes as the Trump campaign has adamantly fought off calls to cancel in-person campaign events due to safety and health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Just last month, the president’s re-election campaign continued with an indoor masks-optional rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, despite pressure to reconsider after coronavirus cases were spiking around the country.
On Wednesday, director of Tulsa Health Department Dr. Bruce Dart said that Trump’s rally “likely contributed” to a sharp increase in coronavirus cases there, according to the Associated Press. On Monday, 261 new cases were confirmed — a singe-day record high in the area. Another roughly 200 cases were reported on Tuesday. In the week leading up to the June 20th event, there were 76 cases on Monday before the rally, and roughly 100 the following day — just about half of what reports show for earlier this week.
The National Weather Service’s forecasts for Portsmouth indicate that some rain is possible, as of Friday afternoon. Showers are expected in the morning though they are likely to occur “mainly before 9 a.m.” As for Saturday night, when the would-be rally was expected to take place, there’s a 40 percent chance of showers between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. as well as winds between 5 and 10 mph and higher wind gusts up to 20 mph. Weather forecasts otherwise indicate “partly cloudy” skies and “new precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.”
The remarks from both the White House and Trump’s campaign come within days of New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu telling reporters on Tuesday that President Trump’s upcoming rally in his state could be conducted safely and without a mask mandate. He said that while he intended to greet the president personally as governor he was unlikely to attend the event.
“I will not be in the crowd of thousands of people, I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people, if that’s your question specifically,” Sununu said, adding that, “unfortunately” he needed to be “extra cautious as the governor,” for himself and for his family considering health risks amid the pandemic.
Addressing reporters on Friday, Trump brushed off the looming storm saying Fay was “under watch” but “shouldn’t be too bad.” The President did not suggest that poor weather conditions were likely to get in the way of the campaign’s rally.
Trump later acknowledged the event’s postponement in Friday afternoon tweets, saying that because of the tropical storm the campaign was “forced to reschedule,” adding his wishes that supporters “stay safe.”
With Tropical Storm Fay heading towards the Great State of New Hampshire this weekend, we are forced to reschedule our Portsmouth, New Hampshire Rally at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease. Stay safe, we will be there soon! #MAGA2020
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2020